While the students had a long Labor Day weekend break, CHS faculty and staff gathered on Tuesday for a full day of professional development. Led by CHS Principal Lisa Harvey, the day began with a highlight of the programs, services and opportunities the school offered during the summer break. From the Summer at CHS program to Cyber Discovery Camp, mission trips and STREAM training, it was clear that summer months at CHS are just as busy and rewarding as the regular school year.
More than 1,200 students registered for the 51 courses offered through Summer at CHS. Whether it was classes in academics, arts, athletics or conditioning, students had the opportunity to take advantage of a wide variety of options.
CHS faculty members Tim Chustz and Sheri Schoonmaker accompanied six CHS students to the Cyber Discovery Camp hosted by Louisiana Tech University in Rouston, LA. The camp, designed to engage high school students in exploring how the “Cyber World” impacts our daily and future lives, incorporates a series of presentations and hands-on activities that challenge students to formulate real-world solutions to potential cyber problems. For the second year in a row, Catholic High placed first in the challenge!
Over the summer, CHS sent several teachers including Bill Devillier, Sheri Schoonmaker and Margaret Smith for training in preparation for the new STREAM curriculum and program. Partnering with Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for students and teachers, each teacher attended an intensive two-week workshop designed to immerse each in their respective field. From Introduction to Engineering and Media Arts, to Principles of Engineering, attendees mastered class content and developed strategies and techniques to transform their classroom environments into practical lab experiences for their students.
Faculty and students once again reached out with a spirit of compassion over the summer, taking part in several mission trips and formation programs. Scott Manning and Fiona Conroy took eight CHS and six SJA students to Klagetoh, AZ, where they served members of St. Anne’s Mission, leading Bible school for the Navajo children in the area. Susana Costela and Chad Dupuy accompanied 17 CHS students to Nicaragua, where they worked with the Cantera organization, interacting with local children and helping to work and develop farmland in the area. Chris Davis, Nancy Herin, Scott Losavio and Willie Stephenson took 22 CHS students to Houma, LA, as part of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart mission experience. Joined by more than 100 students from all nine Brothers’ schools in the U.S. Province, students worked with the Houmas Indian tribe, assisting with local community service projects. More than 70 students from CHS and SJA, traveled to Estes Park, CO, for a 10-day experience with the Catholic Leadership Encounter program. The program is designed to help students develop leadership skills through the lens of their Catholic faith. Academic Assistant Principal Jared Cavalier traveled to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart school, Mission Amatongas, in Mozambique, Africa, to work with Brother Chris Sweeney ’84, SC and volunteers from Brother Martin School in New Orleans.
Following the summer recap, Assistant Principal for Discipline Dr. Tom Eldringhoff, led a faculty discussion centered around this year’s Big Read, “Under Our Skin,” by former New Orleans Saints tight end, Benjamin Watson. The book was chosen by faculty last spring to help facilitate a broader conversation throughout the school community on race and bias in our country. During the discussion, faculty members were encouraged to reflect on questions and passages from the book, and share their feelings and insights in small groups. Faculty are using similar exercises in their classrooms to engage students in the same type of discussions.
Following lunch, faculty participated in breakout sessions that focused on technology, program training and a highlight of best practices in the classroom.